Ways to counter hidden toxins in the modern environment. By Denise Leicester
More of us are becoming conscious of the harmful chemicals we ingest by avoiding processed and non-organic foods, and switching to natural cosmetics and toiletries. But what about the hidden toxicants we’re exposed to without even realising?
Besides cleaning products, air fresheners and insect repellants, here are a few you may not have considered: chemicals like triclosan, phthalates and BPA, found in everything from vinyl raincoats to shower curtains, metal food cans to modern plastics in general.
These chemicals interfere with the body’s endocrine system (the network of glands that helps us function properly), and while many are legally ‘safe in small quantities’, our pre-packaged world is exposing us to far more on a daily basis.
And then there’s stress, which puts the body and organs under duress, resulting in excess hormone production that creates imbalance, leaving us more susceptible to other health issues.
Our skin is also at increased risk from modern ailments like ‘computer burn’. Dr David Fenton, consultant dermatologist at St Thomas’s Hospital, London, says that exposure to UV radiation in any form – whether computer screens or sunrays – will speed up skin ageing. David Olszewski, co-author of a light therapy book entitled, Light Years Ahead, talks about radiation from TVs and computers causing an optical effect that hinders healing. Then there’s the glare, eyestrain and reduced oxygen flow caused by artificial light.
When I started using computers I would get burning eyes, pain in my solar plexus, and my skin would be quite drawn. I learnt that screens emit a small amount of radiation and positive ions ‘within safe levels’, but my body told me this wasn’t good for me. As a result, I always have a Himalayan salt lamp next to my computer; it releases beneficial negative ions to balance this computer microenvironment, reducing tiredness and headaches.
In 10 years time, I’m sure we’ll have products and facials to counterbalance the effects of computers on our skin and general wellbeing. But perhaps we should be exploring this more fervently now.
The following ‘computer cleansing ritual’ is a great respite for tired eyes (and bodies). Light a candle (non-paraffin based) and immerse yourself in a Himalayan salt bath. Gently apply rose hydrolat eye pads for 15 minutes, follow with an eye serum, and finish with a rose face oil or cream to hydrate, cool and replenish the skin. On an everyday level, be more aware of time spent in front of a computer, TV or other screen. Take regular breaks, look away from the screen often, and exercise your eyes by switching your focus from left to right, and near to far.
Denise Leicester is the founder of ila-spa.com